SCOTUScast 5-28-15 featuring Stephen Davis Stephen Davis May 28, 2015
On March 25, 2015 the Supreme Court decided Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, which was consolidated with Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama.
These cases ask whether Alabama's 2012 legislative redistricting plans classify black voters by race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. A three-judge federal district court rejected plaintiffs’ challenge to the redistricting plan. By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court vacated that decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the Court determined that the district court made four key errors: (1) treating the racial gerrymandering claim as referring to the State “as a whole,” rather than district-by-district; (2) finding that the Alabama Democratic Conference lacked standing.; (3) improperly calculating “predominance” in the alternative holding that “[r]ace was not the predominant motivating factor” in the creation of any of the challenged districts; and (4) concluding that “the [challenged] Districts would satisfy strict scrutiny.”
Justice Breyer's opinion for the Court was joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Scalia filed a dissent, which was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito. Justice Thomas also filed a separate dissent.
To discuss the case, we have Stephen Davis, who is an associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Arent Fox. SCOTUScast 2-14-15 featuring Mark Braden
Mark Braden February 24, 2015
On November 12, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, which was consolidated with Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama.
These cases ask whether Alabama's legislative redistricting plans classify black voters by race, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, by intentionally packing them into districts designed to maintain supermajority percentages produced when 2010 census data are applied to the 2001 majority-black districts.
To discuss the case, we have Mark Braden, who is Of Counsel at Baker & Hostetler. Civil Rights and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
Edwin Meese III January 30, 2015
Numerous states have passed voter identification laws, and the Supreme Court has permitted them to remain in effect. Nonetheless, voter ID remains a highly controversial issue. Former United States Attorney General Edwin Meese III discussed voter fraud and the importance of voter ID laws and answered audience questions on a live Teleforum conference call.
Civil Rights in the United States
- Hon. Edwin Meese III, Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus, The Heritage Foundation
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which disabled Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, has led some advocates (including the White House) to argue that voting rights are in peril. But other experts say these fears are wildly overblown and that Shelby County confirms that circumstances have changed dramatically for the better. They argue that Section 5’s federal “preclearance” regime can no longer be justified given that the systematic disenfranchisement of the Jim Crow era has disappeared—racial disparities in voter registration and turnout are gone, especially in previously covered jurisdictions—and that we should focus on actual instances of racial discrimination (as well as election administration). After all, Sections 2 and 3 are still very much in place, although Section 2 has been interpreted to require racial gerrymandering in a way that benefits both major parties but harms American democracy. This panel will discuss the state of voting rights today, including the Justice Department’s enforcement actions, proposed legislation in Congress, voter-ID laws, felon voting, and related issues in the states.
This panel on "The Future of Voting Rights" was part of a day-long conference on Civil Rights in the United States held on September 9, 2014, and co-sponsored by the Federalist Society's Civil Rights Practice Group, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.
- Mr. David H. Gans, Director, Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Citizenship Program, Constitutional Accountability Center
- Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
- Mr. Hans A. von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, Civil Justice Reform Initiative, The Heritage Foundation
- Moderator: Mr. Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst, the Washington Examiner
The Mayflower Hotel